Volume 43, Issue 7 - July 2008

the Aluminum Citings

What’s in a Name?
Making the Most of Coating Brands
by John B. McClatchey Jr.

Painted aluminum in our industry can seem straightforward at times and impossible at others. I personally learned quite a bit recently when a paint vendor made a presentation to our sales group and engineering team with a powder coat that would meet the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) 2605 standard (more on that later). It reminded me that I often take for granted what I know about painting architectural aluminum so I would like to provide you with some insight so that the names and types of paints are easier to understand

The first issue that comes to mind is the use of the term “Kynar®” when referring to liquid architectural paints. It seems that every time we have a customer refer to a painted aluminum product in this industry, they refer to the paint as either Kynar or powder coat. The term Kynar (or more accurately: Kynar 500) is actually a registered trademark of Arkema Inc., which produces industrial chemicals. Likewise, you may have also heard the word Hylar® (or more accurately Hylar 5000). Hylar 5000 is a registered trademark of fluorinated products manufacturer Solvay Solexis. It is much the same as referring to a tissue as a Kleenex®, a soda as a Coke®, or a copy as a Xerox®. The branding of the product is so substantial, that the line between a description and a trade name is blurred. These paints should be referred to as polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) coatings, though most should know what you mean when you say Kynar. 

Within the major PVDF coatings there are trade names as well. PPG’s PVDF paints are either Duranar or Sunstorm. Duranar is PPG’s 2-coat paint, Duranar XL is a 3-coat paint and Duranar XLTS is a 3-coat textured finish. Sunstorm refers to PPG’s 2-coat mica-flaked metallic paint. Valpsar also has proprietary trade names: Fluropon is a 2-coat paint, Fluropon Classic is a 3-coat metallic or mica flake, Flurodize and Fluropon Classic II are 2-coat metallic or mica flake, and Fluropon Premiere is a 3-coat for bright colors. Acroflour and Acrodize are 50 percent PVDFs. Acrodize is the metallic or mica coating. Trinar is Akzo Nobel’s 2-coat PVDF and Tri-Escent is its 2-coat metallic or mica flake coating. 

Powder Coating Comes into Play 
As I mentioned before, the industry has begun re-examining the use of powder coating for architectural use. Akzo Nobel now has a separate division dedicated to providing powder coats to Flurocarbon-based architectural applicators that meet the stringent AAMA 2605 specification. Generally speaking, AAMA 2605 mandates that the paint must resist 4,000 hours of salt spray and not fade more than 5 delta E after 10 years exposure. Whereas a liquid PVDF consists of pigment, resin and solvent, powder coatings are simply the encapsulated pigment without the solvent. The Interpon D3000 Fluromax powder coatings by Akzo are revolutionary. They meet AAMA 2605, they release no VOC’s into the environment and they appear nearly identical to a liquid PVDF coating. Conventional wisdom used to hold that powder coatings had an “orange peel” or textured appearance and that they were glossy … no longer. The only setback to using AAMA 2605 powder coatings is that custom colors have a 5,000-square-foot minimum batch size and matching may take weeks instead of days. Liquid paints will always have their niche due to the ability to quickly mix and match and their ease of use in small quantities. There is no aesthetic or performance difference between liquid “Kynar” paints and Interpon Flurocarbon powder coatings. Powder coating is drastically better for the environment. You must also keep in mind that the proper pre-treatment is required in order for an Interpon powder coating to meet the AAMA 2605 standard.

It may seem very technical, but it is important to understand the different AAMA 2605 coatings that are available. As more and more projects need LEED credits, using a powder-coated product may someday qualify you for credits. It is important to know the differences among the trade names, especially when trying to meet a specification. Contact your metal finisher for further clarification. 

John B. McClatchey Jr. is an account manager and third generation owner of Southern Aluminum Finishing Co. and SAF Metal Fabrication in Atlanta. Mr. McClatchey’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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